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Still An Important State Asset 


Austin F. Hawes, State Forester 



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by Austin F. Hawes, State Forester 


At the first meeting of the Forest Rehabilitation Committee ap- 
pointed by Governor Cross after the hurricane, the Committee recom- 
mended the preparation of a bulletin : 


a. to summarize the results of the hurricane from a forest stand- 

b. to record the measures which were taken to relieve the sit- 

c. to present a revised picture of the forests of the state as they 
are today and outline a forest policy for the future. 

It was the thought of the Committee that a good deal of pessi- 
mism exists as to the forests because of the hurricane and that the 
public should be advised that in spite of the serious loss sustained the 
forests are still a source of great potential wealth to the state and 
deserve careful treatment if they are to fulfill their proper function. 

It is for the purpose of carrying out this recommendation of the 
Committee that this bulletin has been prepared. Acknowledgment is 
made of many helpful suggestions received from various employees 
of the State Forestry Department and of the Connecticut CCC camps 
and special mention is made of contributions by Dr. Raymond Kien- 
holz and W. F. Schreeder. 

Printed by 

T. F. RADY & CO., 

Rockville, Conn. 


The hurricane which hit New England with such destructive ef- 
fect on the afternoon of September 21, 1938 was of tropical origin. On 
the evening of September 16 it was located about 500 miles northeast 
of the Leeward Islands. Moving westward and then northwestward 
at the rate of 15-20 miles per hour it swung northerly up the coast 
past Cape Hatteras on the morning of September 21. (Figure 1.) It 
had gradually increased its speed of progress to 60 miles per hour 
when it hit the southern coast of Long Island and crossed to the Con- 
necticut shore line. The center of the storm passed just to the west 
of New Haven at 3:50 P. M. and just to the west of Hartford at 4:17 
P. M. Swinging slightly westward it crossed Massachusetts and Ver- 
mont (Northfield 7:30 P. M.) into Canada, where it was no longer 

The cause of the increase in speed of its northward movement 
from 15 miles to 60 miles as it approached the Connecticut shore is 
not clearly known. The very rapid northward movement of the 
storm center together with its rotational movement, produced un- 
usually heavy winds to the east of its path and relatively lighter winds 
to the west of its path. This accounts for the much greater destruc- 
tion in eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island than in western Con- 
necticut. Maximum wind velocities and directions as recorded by 
selected Weather Bureau Stations for 5-minute intervals were: Block 
Island, 82 miles per hour from the Southeast; Boston, (airport) 73S ; 
Burlington, 47S ; Hartford, 46NE and Providence 87SW. These fig- 
ures do not, however, give one an adequate picture of the strength 
of the gusts of wind which were so destructive. At New Haven, 
where the maximum velocity for a 5-minute period as recorded by the 
Weather Bureau was about 45 miles an hour, the Koppers Coke 
Company recorded the strength of individual gusts as high as 87 
miles an hour, nearly twice as strong as for a 5-minute period. If 
this relationship held throughout, wind velocities may well have 
reached over 100 miles per hour in most parts of the devastated area. 
The Blue Hills Observatory, Milton, Mass., located on a low hill, 
recorded 121 miles per hour for a 5-minute period and for shorter 
periods the wind reached a velocity of 173 and 183 miles per hour. 
The highest wind velocity ever recorded by means of an anemometer 
on Mt. Washington was 231 miles an hour on April 12, 1934. 

The rainfall which preceded and accompanied the hurricane was 
excessive. Its distribution is shown in Figure 2. Central Connecti- 
cut received from 14 to 17 inches of rain from September 17 to Sep- 
tember 22 inclusive. Probably 75 per cent of the rain fell prior to the 
time of maximum wind velocity and soaked up the soil until it was 
soggy and muddy. The soft condition of the soil undoubtedly had an 
effect on the firmness with which the trees were rooted and the con- 
sequent ease with which they were blown over by the wind. In con- 


trast with the large amount of rainfall in central Connecticut the 
southeastern part of the state had only 4 to 5 inches of rainfall while 
Rhode Island stations reported even less (Providence 3.09, Kings- 
ton 2.80, Block Island 3.46). 

Hurricanes similar in destructiveness to the one of September 21, 
1938 occurred on August 15, 1635 and again on September 22, 1815. 
It is possible that widespread destruction of forests during these ear- 
lier storms may have resulted in the loss of much of the older timber 

Fig. 1 — Chart showing general path of hurricane and accelerated speed as it 

approached New England. 
Courtesy of Professor Charles F. Brooks and Middletown Scientific Association. 

as was the case in 1938 thus accounting in part for the absence of very 
large trees in the state during our generation, although extensive cut- 
ting has been the main cause of forest depletion. 

The combination of soggy ground, strong wind and the sail sur- 
face of a full complement of leaves proved too much and many shade 
and forest trees were broken or blown over by the hurricane. If the 
hurricane had occurred after the hardwoods had lost their leaves the 
destruction would not have been nearly as severe as it was. The 


sight of many trees in full leaf blown down across streets and roads, 
carrying down telephone wires, breaking down fences and buildings, 
and uprooting great masses of earth and roots carrying with them 
sections of sidewalk, was a depressing one. The leafy crown of a 
tree is a very large object when lying on the ground where one can 
see it easily. The result was a tendency for every one who saw the 
destruction immediately after the hurricane to over-estimate the num- 
ber of trees which had been destroyed. A later, more thorough in- 
vestigation of the damage reduced the first high estimates to more 
nearly the truth. However, estimates place the loss of public shade 
trees alone in Connecticut at over 100,000. 

Most of the damage occurred east of the Connecticut river or, 
more accurately, east of the center of the storm ; that is, east of a line 
drawn from New Haven through Hartford (Figure 1). The actual 
damage by counties will be discussed more fully later. 

The greatest damage was done to pure stands of conifers of large 
size. This fact is repeatedly borne out by observations over the en- 
tire hurricane area. The Shaker Pines, north of Hazardville, were 
completely blown down. Very few trees were broken off, practically 
all were blown over. Wherever breakage occurred investigation 
nearly always showed the ravages of carpenter ants or decay fungi. 
The main stand of the Shaker Pines, 70 years old, averaged about 80 
feet in height and was made up of white pine with a few red pine in- 
termixed. Practically all older stands of white pine east of the Con- 
necticut River were partially or completely destroyed. 

The beautiful old stand of hemlocks along Mashamoquet Brook 
was completely blown down as was also much of the stand of hem- 
locks at Devils Hop Yard State Park. 

The extensive stands of southern white cedar in the swamps 
near Voluntown (Pachaug Forest) were very heavily damaged by 
the hurricane. Shallow-rooted, tall, in dense stands, the wind liter- 
ally pushed over whole acres of these trees as though a great hand 
had slowly but inexorably swept over the land, leveling everything 
before it. Sometimes the wind pushed the trees only part way over 
and they now lean at a sharp angle. 

Old plantations of white pine (Mt. Higby Reservoir, Middletown 
Water Board, and Nipmuck Forest, Union) red pine (Rainbow 
plantations), Scotch pine (Rainbow plantations) and spruce were 
badly damaged, usually being almost completely blown over. In a 
few cases the mixed hardwood type was also heavily damaged. 
Where the hardwoods overtopped the pine and hemlock, they suf- 
fered more heavily than the pine and hemlock. 

Large, dominant trees were more severely damaged than smaller, 
suppressed trees. In the stands of uneven age the dominant trees 
whose crowns extended into or above the dominant canopy were al- 
most always broken or wind thrown wherever the damage was at all 
evident. This was usually true of mixed hardwoods or of stands of 




hardwoods with an understory of conifers and especially true of 
isolated pine or hemlock scattered through a hardwood stand. Tulip, 
because of its rapid height growth, often extended above the rest of 
the stand and was frequently wind thrown. 

On the Pachaug Forest in southeastern Connecticut on an area 
largely white oak, the damaged trees averaged 10.8 inches in diameter 
at breast height while the unharmed trees averaged 7.3 inches in di- 
ameter. On another area, largely scarlet oak, the damaged trees 
averaged 10.5 inches D. B. H. and the erect trees 8.8 inches D. B. H. 

In a few cases, pine under hardwoods was damaged, while the 
hardwoods were not. 

Some species, such as hickory, white oak, ash and sugar maple, 
seemed less subject to damage than others. There was great di- 
versity of opinion among observers concerning the ability of the dif- 
ferent species to resist hurricane injury, but wide observation in- 
dicates that hickory, hard maple, white oak and white ash were most 
resistant to injury in the order named. 

Some species, such as large-toothed poplar, trembling aspen, 
cottonwood, scarlet oak and tulip, were particularly subject to hurri- 
cane injury. The poplars showed up badly, both in the forest and as 
shade trees. The prevalence of scarlet oak in the southeastern part of 
the state, coupled with heavy wind and lack of rainfall caused exces- 
sive breakage. Some observers reported spruce plantations less dam- 
aged than red pine. Others could see no difference in the number of 
trees damaged but found less breakage in spruce. The scarcity of 
older plantations of spruce makes a comparison between the two spe- 
cies difficult. Old Norway spruce planted as shade trees went down 
badly because of the extensive crown they carry, but the same was 
true also of white pine. 

Isolated hemlocks were fairly resistant to wind throw, partic- 
ularly when growing on upland soil. In swamps or on exposed rocky 
situations they were apt to be wind thrown. 

In the Rainbow plantations, Scotch pine, although damaged to 

about the same extent as red or white pine, was very much more apt 
to be broken while red or white pine were more apt to be wind 
thrown. This was true also of mixed plantations of these species. 

Scarlet oak was most severely damaged and white oak least se- 
verely damaged of the oaks. 

Easterly slopes were mosl frequently damaged followed by south- 
erly slopes. Northerly and westerly slopes were least damaged. 

In the western pari of the state northerly and westerly slopes 
were apt to be damaged more frequently than in the eastern part of 

the state because the strongest winds were from that direction on the 
west side of the storm. 

Ravines were usually severely damaged no matter what direction 
they ran because of the funnelling o\ the wind through them ( I Hick 




plot, Cockaponset Forest). The more rolling terrain of the south- 
eastern part of the state did not protect the north and west slopes 
as did more rugged terrain in the northwestern part of the state. 

The shallow rooting characteristic of 'hardwoods or softwoods in 
swampy soil caused heavy damage, particularly wind throw, along 
streams and in and around swamps (red maple). 

In general, mixed hardwood stands under 40 years old were very 
slightly damaged. There were small areas in which stands younger 
than 40 years were damaged but the chief damage to the younger 
trees came from the falling of the overstory trees. Scarlet oak 
younger than 40 years tended to be severely damaged, whereas white 
oak of that age stood up well. 

Softwood plantations under 15 years of age were seldom dam- 
aged. Damage varied greatly with location, some of the plantations 
near the Sound, as at South Lyme, were damaged even though young. 
It might be better to substitute for age the criterion of height. Plan- 
tations under 10 feet in height were lightly damaged : from 10 to 20 
feet were moderately damaged and over 20 feet were heavily dam- 
aged. Fortunately most plantations in the state are small, hence 
were not damaged. 

Salt water spray turned many trees partially or wholly brown. 
This browning was noticeable many miles inland. The effect of salt 
spray has already proved serious on many conifers within a few miles 
of the shore. 

Breakage was more frequent on dry sites than on moist and more 
frequent in the southeastern part of the state where rainfall, just be- 
fore the hurricane, was scanty. The heavy rainfall which preceded 
the hurricane, softened the soil so that roots did not hold well when 
subjected to wind strain and the trees were blown over rather than 
broken. A very sharp gust of wind might cause breakage even in 
trees rooted in a wet soil but the prevalence of wind throw rather 
than breakage in moist, low lying areas is indicative of the effect of 
moisture. A possible exception to this was found in very wet 
swamps, where the trees already accustomed to growing in vvet soil 
were not affected by additional rainfall and sometimes withstood the 

Breakage east of the Thames River was estimated, on a number 
of quarter acre plots, as 40 per cent of all damaged trees while west 
of the Thames River it was estimated at 20 per cent. 

White pine was more subject to breakage than pitch pine; scarlet 
oak than white oak; Scotch pine than red pine and white pine than 
Norway spruce. 

Trees which originated as sprouts were more subject to wind 
throw and basal breakage than trees which originated from seed. 
This was particularly noticeable in sprout scarlet oak where there 
was considerable rot at the base of the tree. The rotting stump often 
infects the sprouts that grow from it. This is not true of trees of 
seedling origin. 




Within a few days after the hurricane several New England con- 
ferences were held in Boston. These were attended by the state offi- 
cials responsible for forest protection, forestry educators, timber own- 
ers, lumber manufacturers and others interested. At that time the 
amount of timber blown down in New England was estimated as in 
the vicinity of three billion board feet. It was evident that if this tre- 
mendous amount of lumber was thrown upon an unregulated market 
a price war would result so that neither manufacturers nor land own- 
ers would be able to salvage any value from the down timber. The 
Federal Government was, therefore, petitioned to handle this prob- 
lem by some method similar to the way other surplus crops have been 
handled. President Roosevelt appointed Chief Forester Silcox as 
Federal Coordinator for New England for all problems having to do 
with forestry. 

The New England Forest Emergency Project was established by 
the U. S. Forest Service early in October with headquarters in Bos- 
ton under Mr. Earl Tinker and branch offices in each of the New 
England States. After some delay arrangements were made with 
the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to set up the Northeastern 
Timber Salvage Corporation for this purpose. 

Immediately after the hurricane publicity was issued by the State 
Forester urging all timber owners, who had been damaged by the 
hurricane, not to sell their timber at sacrifice prices. Col. Thomas 
Hewes, who had been appointed State Coordinator by Governor 
Cross, called a meeting of land owners in the State Capitol on Octo- 
ber 11th when the tentative plan of Government purchase was out- 

In addition to the Rehabilitation Committee Governor Cross ap- 
pointed three sub-committees to deal with Forest Fires, Timber Sal- 
vage and Forest Rehabilitation. 

These committees held several meetings and made valuable rec- 
ommendations which were printed in the Report of the Rehabilitation 
Committee. The most important of these recommendations were as 
follows : 

1. A State appropriation of $100,000. for labor and equipment to 
meet the unusual fire hazard resulting from the hurricane. 

2. A State appropriation of $5,000. for the installation and operation 
of a saw mill in the Pachaug State Forest. 

3. A State appropriation of $13,000. for a study of the local forest 
products market and of local wood utilization possibilities. 

4. A revolving fund of $10,000. to finance the logging of down timber 
on the state forests. 

5. An appropriation of $10,000. a year for three years for the estab- 
lishment of a state nursery to supply planting stock to farmers 
and other land owners. 


6. An appropriation of $200,000. a year for the biennium for the ac- 
quisition of state forests in the devastated area. 

7. The passage of a bill to encourage the establishment of town 

8. The passage of a bill for the regulation of clear-cutting of forests. 


From the day of the hurricane the C. C. C. had rendered valuable 
service to the Highway Department and the various towns in open- 
ing roads, doing sanitation and other emergency work. After the 
completion of the emergency work all efforts of the C. C. C. were con- 
centrated on fire hazard reduction. The U. S. Forest Service also 
sponsored a W. P. A. project to use 2000 men in Connecticut but ex- 
cept for a short period not more than one-quarter of this number 
were available. Governor Cross made $10,000. available for W. P. A. 
transportation. For purposes of fire protection the hurricane zone 
was divided into nine Fire Control Areas using rivers and state high- 
ways as boundaries. The sides of these roads were cleaned up by 
January 1, 1939 to a width of 50 feet in hardwoods and 100 feet in 
softwoods. This cleaning consisted in cutting and burning small 
branches and twigs of wind thrown trees. Tree trunks and usable 
limbs were left on the ground for the owners' use on the theory that 
these are not readily inflammable. This cleaning was for the dual 
purpose of preventing the starting of fires on the roadsides and to es- 
tablish adequate fire lines where large fires can be checked. Upon 
the completion of the work on the roads bounding the main areas 
these areas were sub-divided by other roads into 61 fire blocks. 

Early in January 1939 Governor Baldwin secured an emergency 
appropriation of $350,000. for repair of damage caused by the hurri- 
cane. Of this $31,730. was allotted to the Forestry Department for 
fire hazard reduction. Twelve crews of 15 men each were employed 
from the beginning of February to supplement the work of the C. C. C. 
and the W. P. A. with the result that the boundaries of the 61 sub- 
divisions and many other roads were cleaned up in the way described 
above before April 1st. Debris had also been cleaned away from 
practically all houses for a distance of 200 feet. 

Congress passed a Deficiency Bill appropriating $5,000,000. for 
fire hazard reduction work in New England. Connecticut's share of 
this appropriation is $500,000. With this money the Forest Service 
is employing about 400 men to do similar work on areas which had 
not been covered by the State, C. C. C. and W. P. A. crews. 


The Timber Salvage Administration set up three grades of pine 
logs with prices of $18, $14, and $12 per thousand feet delivered at 
designated stations. However, the owner receives only 90 per cent 
of these prices, as 10 per cent is retained by the R. F. C. to assure 


the financial success of its program. All pine logs are to be stored in 
ponds or sawed immediately upon delivery. Up to June 30, 1939 
twenty-one ponds had been designated in Connecticut for storage of 
pine. The amount contracted for is 23,800,000 bd. ft. and the amount 
delivered is 10,400,000 bd. ft. 

Prices offered for hardwood logs such as white wood, yellow 
birch, sugar maple, ash and beech, red and white oak are $22, $16, and 
$12 respectively for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade logs. Oak logs must 
have a minimum length of 8 feet 6 inches. Obviously the land own- 
er only receives $10.80 per thousand board feet for hemlock, hard- 
wood tie logs, and third grade pine. 

There have been 175 stations set up for the delivery of hardwood 
and hemlock logs. The amount contracted for is 31,260,000 bd. ft. 
and the amount delivered 4,700,000 bd. ft. 

Up to the present time the logs sold to the Timber Salvage Ad- 
ministration have averaged $12.49 per thousand board feet. 

Of all logs received by the Timber Salvage Administration in 
Connecticut the average price paid for pine has been $12.09 and for 
hardwoods $13.72. The Administration is operating eleven saw mills 
in Connecticut at present. 

Due to the delay in getting the Government program under way 
many landowners had sold their logs to private operators or arranged 
to have their logs custom sawed. It is estimated that the total 
amount salvaged privately to date is about 11,000,000 bd. ft. 

An allotment of $19,350. was made by Governor Baldwin to sal- 
vage logs from the state forests and purchase the necessary equip- 
ment for the manufacture of part of the lumber. A Chase No. 1 saw 
mill with edger and gasoline power unit was purchased for the Pach- 
aug forest where there was the largest amount of timber available. 
The planer formerly at Natchaug forest was moved to Pachaug. 
Sawing of white pine and hemlock was begun on March 25, 1939 un- 
der an order from the Public Works Department to furnish kiln-dried 
dressed lumber for the reconstruction work at Hammonasset Beach. 
What is known as an Arkansas dry kiln was made near the mill. 
This consists in a series of ditches like those for a barbecue in which 
slab wood is burned. The lumber is piled about seven feet above 
ground level. The intervening space is enclosed with old tin and fires 
are covered with metal. This kiln proved so efficient that 2" x 4" 
lumber was sufficiently dried for use in a week. Up to June 30, 1939, 
508,500 board feet of lumber had been sawed. 

In addition to milling these logs at Pachaug contracts were made 
with the Northeastern Timber Salvage Administration to sell logs 
from the Pachaug, Quaddick, and Natchaug forests to the Govern- 
ment. Up to June 30, 1939 logs amounting to 290,845 board feet had 
been delivered at the Government stations from the state forests. 
The average price paid for these logs was $11.81 per M. 



Another measure which has been a great help to land owners in 
cleaning up the hurricane debris is Practice 12 adopted under the Ag- 
ricultural Conservation Program which is administered by the Agri- 
cultural Extension Service at the College: Under this practice land 
owners are paid $4. an acre up to 15 acres on any holdings for clean- 
ing up hurricane destroyed woodland. Up to the middle of March 
756 applications had been received and 543 had been approved cover- 
ing 6404 acres of forest. The largest areas are in New London, Tol- 
land and Hartford Counties. 


The allotment of $4920. by Governor Baldwin for fire fighting 
equipment made it possible to provide every deputy fire warden as 
well as the district fire warden with the standard equipment which 
consists in 3 shovels, 3 brooms, 3 fire tools, 4 to 6 pails and 2 knap- 
sack pumps. For each trained registered crew of ten men that a war- 
den has this list of equipment is duplicated. By the first of April 
1939 there were 97 of these trained crews fully equipped in addi- 
tion to 139 district and 529 deputy wardens. 

Arrangements were made to have six crews of 20 men each in 
the seven C. C. C. camps fully equipped and trained and ready for 
fire calls. All other crews engaged in fire hazard reduction work 
whether employed by the State, W. P. A. or other Federal Govern- 
ment agencies were available for fire fighting. 

Two additional trucks were equipped with transmission and port- 
able power pumps each with a half mile of hose. This made thirteen 
state owned power pump units of which ten were in the hurricane 
zone. In addition the Government furnished seven power pumps for 
the C. C. C. camps in this area. 

Only one lookout tower, that in Sterling, had been seriously dam- 
aged by the hurricane and this had been repaired immediately after 
the storm. There were, therefore, seventeen lookout towers in oper- 
ation during the spring of 1939. Provision has been made for the 
erection of two additional towers before next fall. 

Arrangements were made with the U. S. Weather Bureau to have 
weather conditions reported to the Boston office from seven forest 
stations in Connecticut. The Boston office of the Weather Bureau 
notifies the various broadcasting stations of the fire weather condi- 
tions and this information is broadcast at various times so that all 
wardens with radios can keep informed of conditions. Five danger 
classes of weather are recognized from No. 1 when there is no haz- 
ard, to No. 5, Extreme Hazard. Wardens have instructions not to 
issue permits for fires on Class 4 or 5 days. 


Weather conditions were fortunately unusually favorable for the 
control of forest fires throughout the early part of the spring. There 
was a considerable snowfall on March 13th, with the result that very 


few fires occurred in March. This favorable condition was somewhat 
counterbalanced by the prolonged drought in May and June, but fires 
burn more slowly after the new foliage is formed and consequently 
they were controlled effectively. Up to June 29 reports had been re- 
ceived of 893 fires which burned 3054 acres or an average of 3.5 acres 
per fire. This may be compared with 1444 fires at the same time in 
1938 with an average of 4.8 acres per fire. The largest fire of the 
season, which burned 165 acres, was west of the area affected by the 
hurricane. The prompt action of fire crews resulted in controlling 
the fires within as small areas as before the hurricane. 



Immediately after the hurricane it was evident to every one that 
there had been a tremendous damage both to the shade trees and to 
the forests of the state. The best available information indicates that 
approximately 100,000 shade trees on public highways and in public 
parks were destroyed. No figures are available on the number of 
shade trees destroyed on private property, but it undoubtedly exceeds 
the above estimate. 

While it has been impossible to make an accurate estimate of the 
timber damage, the forest rangers of this department have visited 
all sections of the hurricane zone and interviewed a great many land 
owners. Because of the fact that most of the forests in this area were 
young, the average stand per acre before the hurricane contained 
little merchantable timber. While a great many trees that were des- 
troyed were large enough for logs, their scattered condition and dis- 
tance from roads makes salvage in many cases impracticable. Con- 
sequently, there is a wide divergence between the estimated total 
damage and the amount considered salvagable as indicated in Table 
No. 1. . 

Figures given above indicate that about 66 million board feet 
have been contracted for up to June 30th which is about sixty per cent 
of the estimated salvagable material, while only 26 million feet had 
been delivered. This is about one-quarter of the estimated salvagable. 
It is a well known fact that most of the work thus far has been in 
salvaging white pine. If a real effort is made to salvage hardwoods, 
it is believed that the total will not be far from the 111 million feet 

In addition to the timber estimated above it is safe to say that 
at least 1,500,000 cords of wood in small trees and tops of large trees 
are on the ground and that only a relatively small part of this wood 
can be salvaged because of the lack of wood using industries in the 

On the basis of a survey of 113,000 acres in private forests sur- 
rounding the various state forests the standing timber of the state 
was estimated four years ago to be 1,771,100,000 board feet. Reduc- 

































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ing all products to cords the total volume was estimated at 12,970,000 
cords. During the succeeding four years this growing stock had in- 
creased about 1,000,000 cords so the total before the hurricane was 
approximately 14,000,000 cords. 

The timber blown over was, therefore, about one-fifth of the total 
timber of the state but if the total damage were converted to cord- 
wood it would amount to about one-sixth of the total volume. 

For the purposes of the State Rehabilitation Commission the en- 
tire forest damage was placed at $1,660,000. which is about 6 per cent 
of the total property damage caused by the hurricane. This estimate, 
of course, ignores the indirect values of the forests destroyed such as 
for summer resort property, protection of water, and wild life and the 
prevention of erosion. These are intangible values which cannot be 
estimated even approximately. 



While the forests of Connecticut have been in a deplorable con- 
dition ever since the death of the chestnut in the early years of the 
present century, the timber loss through the hurricane was undoubt- 
edly less than it would have been except for this fact. Surveys made 
in 1930 and '31 indicated that only 8 per cent of the forest area of the 
state was covered with trees of the tie and timber age class. Even 
allowing for a slight increase since that time, it is safe to say that this 
age class did not much exceed 10 per cent at the time of the hurri- 
cane. Most of the hardwood damage was in this age class, although 
many individual trees in younger age classes were destroyed. This, 
however, is not true of the softwoods, for whole stands of these of 
all ages were uprooted. While estimates indicate that about one-fifth 
of the timber of the state was destroyed, the damage to the softwood 
forests was proportionately greater. Whereas before the storm there 
were approximately 215,000 acres in the state covered with forests 
containing a considerable proportion of evergreens, it is safe to say- 
that this area had been reduced to about 160,000 acres including per- 
haps 25,000 acres of plantations. After the salvage of the hurricane 
damaged timber, the proportion of softwood to the total lumber pro- 
duction of the state will undoubtedly be less for many years than it 
has been during the recent past. 

The forests of Connecticut now contain approximately one and 
one-half billion board feet of timber of merchantable size. Owing to 
the fact that it is scattered over such a large area, much of it is not 
actually merchantable and will not be until the average stand per 
acre has increased. This timber is made up largely of the various 
species of oak and birch together with red maple, hemlock and white 
pine and small quantities of ash, hickory and tulip or white wood. 

Serious as was the damage suffered by Connecticut forests from 
the hurricane, it was no more serious than less spectacular damage in 




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the past through unwise cutting practices and the uncontrolled fires 
which often followed in their wake. The great economic loss caused 
by the hurricane as from the chestnut blight was due to the fact that 
most of the smaller trees destroyed could jnot be salvaged. In the 27 
years previous to 1931 the average annual lumber cut in the state was 
79,855,000 board feet, although in the last ten years of the period it 
was only 45,600,000 feet a year. Neither of these amounts would 
have been excessive if they had been made through the proper selec- 
tion of mature trees from a forest with a proper distribution of ages. 
It was the long continued practice of cutting all the trees on a tract 
regardless of size and age which had resulted in an excess of young 
forests and a scarcity of mature timber. This is known as clear cut- 
ting as contrasted with a selection cutting which removes only the 
large or defective trees and leaves vigorous young trees to grow. 
Since the depression the annual lumber cut in Connecticut has been 
only about 8,634,000 board feet. A more important factor in the re- 
covery of the forest has been the reduced clear cutting of cordwood 
which was formerly in demand by the brick, lime and brass indus- 
tries. The annual area burned by forest fires has also fallen from 
34,540 before 1931 to 6,900 acres since '31. The result of these changes 
is that the forests are now in better growing condition in spite of 
the hurricane than they were a decade ago. This is indicated by the 
following table. 


1930 1940 

Estimated Forest Area 1,789,000 acres 1,825,000 acres 

Approximate proportion of Forest 1 

to 20 years old (Saplings) 35 per cent 28 per cent 

Approximate proportion of Forest 21 

to 40 years old (Cordwood) 32 33 

Approximate proportion of Forest 41 

to 60 years old (Polewood) 25 28 

Approximately proportion of Forest 

61 and over (Timber) 8 11 

100 " " 100 " " 

If a forest is to produce an annual crop it must obviously have a 
fairly even distribution of trees of all ages so that each year there will 
be about an equal number of large trees to cut. It makes little dif- 
ference to the State whether there is an equal number of acres cov- 
ered with each age class. Thus a forest of 1000 acres might have a 
mixture of trees throughout varying from 1 to 100 years (a selection 
forest) or it might have 10 acres covered with each age class from 1 
to 100 years (an even aged forest). In either case it would be con- 
sidered a "normal forest" because it would be possible to cut the same 
amount of timber every year. Contrast such a "normal forest" with 


the forests of Connecticut where only 11 per cent of the trees are over 
60 years of age, and where 89 per cent of the forest has little of com- 
mercial value. Evidently the Connecticut forests cannot be very 
productive until this condition is rectified. Table No. 2 shows that 
some progress in this direction has been made in the past decade. 

A decade ago the area of forest 41 to 60 years old was estimated 
at 447,000 acres. Approximately half of this area is now in the age 
class 61 years and over. Thus in spite of the fact that most of the 
damage done by the hurricane was to the older trees, the total area 
now in the older age class is larger than it was ten years ago. 

The U. S. Government Timber Salvage Program should be of 
lasting value to the forests and forest owners of Connecticut. It not 
only stabilized the market and enabled land owners to secure a fair 
price for logs which would otherwise have been unmarketable, but it 
has given timber owners an elementary knowledge of volume, grades 
and values and it is teaching saw mill operators how to produce and 
pile good lumber. The soundness and high quality of Connecticut 
timber being produced under these new conditions is proving a reve- 
lation to many former skeptics. 

Under the grading rules of the Northeastern Timber Salvage Ad- 
ministration three grades are recognized for white pine and hardwood 
logs. Certain variations are permitted in each grade but a premium 
is paid for size, soundness and straightness. 




Kind of Timber First Grade Second Grade Third Grade 

White Pine $18. $14. $12. 

Hardwoods 22. 16. 12. 

Hemlock — — 12. 

The advantage from raising high grade logs is obvious when the 
prices between first and third grade logs are compared. In the case 
of white pine first grade logs must be at least 13 inches in diameter at 
the top and free from defects while third grade logs need be only 6 
inches in diameter. The size of logs is, of course, determined by the 
age of the forest, the quality of the soil and the kind of management 
the forest has had. The better the management the greater will be 
the number of high grade logs on an area, for each successive thin- 
ning removes the poorest trees and lowest grade logs. 

Table No. 3 shows at a glance that a premium is paid for logs of 
large diameter and long lengths. First grade pine logs are worth 50 
per cent more per thousand feet than third grade. In hardwoods em- 
phasis is on soundness and straightness. First grade logs are worth 
83 per cent more than third grade logs. 

ll. These prices are for logs per thousand board feet delivered at a depot es- 
tablished by the Administration. 


A surprising proportion of the hardwood lumber, about 45 per 
cent, has graded No. 1, with 15 per cent No. 2, and 40 per cent No. 3. 
Of the pine logs received previous to May 1 about 5 per cent were 
No. 1, 75 per cent No. 2, and 20 per cent No. 3. (1 

Obviously more labor is involved in handling a lot of small logs 
than the equivalent volume in large logs. The International Log 
Rule was adopted by the Northeastern Timber Salvage Administra- 
tion because it has been found to give the most accurate results. 
The number of logs of a few random sizes required to make 1000 
board feet of lumber is indicated by Table No. 4. 



Diameter Length Number 

inside bark of of logs 

at top logs required 

to saw 1000 
Inches Feet board feet 

6 10 100 

7 12 50 

8 12 40 

9 16 20 
13 14 10 
17 16 5 
23 14 3 
26 16 2 
39 14 1 

Investigations made several years ago proved that it takes twice 
as long to fell and cut up 1000 board feet of logs from trees 8 inches 
in diamete* as from trees 25 inches in diameter. It takes three times 
as long to skid logs 8 inches in diameter as logs 20 inches in diameter ; 
four times as long to load them and twice as long to saw them. 

When the factors of additional cost for handling small logs are 
combined with the differential in value between large and small or 
defective logs, it follows that the profit from marketing first grade 
logs of either pine or hardwoods may easily be three times as much 
as from third grade logs. 

This is, of course, an argument for holding a woodlot until it is 
mature instead of cutting it off while the trees are still small. It is 
also an argument for proper treatment during the life of the forest so 
that the mature trees will be sound and straight and of the most val- 
uable varieties. A mature stand of hardwoods 80 years old with 50 
logs per acre making 5000 board feet is evidently much more profit- 

1. "After the Hurricane" Connecticut Woodlands, May 1939. 


able to log than a stand 50 years old with perhaps 60 small logs mak- 
ing 1500 board feet, for not only is the yield three times as much but 
the profit per log is much greater. A pine stand of 80 years may 
have 100 logs per acre making 10,000 board feet as compared to 120 
logs making 3000 board feet at the age of 50 years. As a forest grows 
older and the trees become more crowded some of the least sturdy 
will die in an untreated woodland. Under good management these 
trees are removed in successive cuttings, and an even growth of the 
remaining trees is maintained. 

That Connecticut is capable of producing large and high grade 
logs was demonstrated in the logs purchased by the Northeastern 
Timber Salvage Administration from the woodlot of Mr. Arthur H. 
Griswold in Wethersfield. Fifteen of these oak logs scaled 6,090 
board feet or an average of 406 board feet a log. The largest log 
scaled 630 board feet. Fourteen of these logs were graded No. 1. 
The net profit to the owner on the fifteen logs is said to have been 

These facts are being recognized by an increasing number of the 
more intelligent lumbermen of the country. Many of them, particu- 
larly in the west, have given up the practice of cutting small trees 
and have found that their operations are increasingly profitable, as 
they eliminate these trees which were formerly cut at a loss. The 
practice of selecting the large mature trees and leaving the younger 
trees for future growth is known as "Selective Logging" or the "Se- 
lection System." By it the land is kept perpetually in a productive 
condition, the soil is protected from injurious exposure to sun and 
winds and timber of the highest quality and price is raised. 




The State has just established a Development Commission with 
the purpose of encouraging the establishment of new industries in 
Connecticut. Undoubtedly the forests, as one of the chief sources of 
raw materials, must play an important part in such a movement even- 
tually if not immediately. 

As already pointed out, Connecticut forests at present are long 
on small poor grade material and short on large high grade material. 
Industries might be established in the near future to utilize the small 
material in making good pulp, material for plastics, charcoal, wood 
acid or other chemical products. Should such industries be estab- 
lished without some public control of cutting practices they would 
result in extensive clear cutting just as did the brass, brick and char- 
coal industries of the past generation. The most profitable form of 
forest management to the land owner and the one consistent with the 
greatest benefits to the State as a whole, is one in which the main 
objective is the raising of high grade lumber, but which produces a 
large amount of low grade materials through intermediate cuttings 
while the high grade material is growing. 


At the present time Connecticut is producing less than 10 per 
cent of the approximately 100,000,000 board feet used annually in the 
state. Under proper management our forests are fully capable of 
yielding after twenty or thirty years as much lumber as at present 
consumed, although it is possible that it 'might still be necessary to 
import part of the softwood needed by the building trade. This is 
especially true now that so much of our nearly mature pine and hem- 
lock has been destroyed by the hurricane. 

Such a reorientation of forest management would benefit not only 
the land owners and the manufacturer but indirectly every one who 
lives in the state. Well managed forests and the industries incident 
to them employ a great many people. The employment possibilities 
of a forest depend upon the age and character of the timber. For our 
Connecticut forests it is fair to estimate forestry operations would be 
warranted economically at the following rates based upon full time 
employment of 250 days a year. 

Sapling forest 1 man per 1000 acres 
Cordwood " 1 " " 500 " 

Timber " 1 " " 250 " 

Upon this basis our forests can now support at least 3500 men 
and should in time support from two to four times as many. 

As a matter of fact, forest employment is to a considerable ex- 
tent seasonal. In the older countries comparatively few work the 
entire year in the woods. The remainder of the year is employed on 
farms, or on public undertakings like road construction. On such a 
basis the number of people finding part time employment in the 
forests would be at least double the figures above. As forest indus- 
tries are developed the employment in the rural towns would also be 
considerably increased. 

Every one who builds a house pays indirectly a large freight bill 
on lumber imported into the state. It has been estimated that for 
the average house this cost alone amounts to at least $300. For the 
family that rents a house this cost is passed on in the form of monthly 
payments. Many of the industries of Connecticut use a large amount 
of lumber either in the process of manufacture or for packing. 

Connecticut forests are capable of producing lumber suitable for 
all these demands. Experience following the hurricane has shown 
the high quality of our lumber when properly manufactured and 

Connecticut grown white pine and white oak had an important 
part in the building of the state and it was only after the original for- 
ests had disappeared that the native second growth timber, now in 
competition with first growth timber from other parts of the coun- 
try, fell into disrepute. Builders and contractors are now inclined to 
criticise our white pine for its low strength, stiffness and nail hold- 
ing power. While it is true that white pine is not as strong as Doug- 


las fir, southern pine or eastern spruce, woods which have largely 
taken its place in house construction, this handicap can be overcome 
by using larger sizes of timber and more and larger nails. On the 
other hand white pine swells and shrinks and warps less than these 
other lumbers. It is famous for its ease of working which has long 
made it the popular wood of pattern makers. Its paint holding char- 
acteristics are superior to those of the other building lumbers used 
and this quality alone should endear it to New England, a region 
which prides itself on keeping well painted. 


In the early part of this century forests and wild life alike had 
reached the low point in their history. It was natural that conserva- 
tionists of all kinds should resort to artificial methods of restocking. 
In the case of wild life this has meant the establishment of fish hatch- 
eries and the planting of millions of fish of various kinds and the 
wide distribution of game birds and eggs of several varieties. In the 
case of the forest it has meant the planting of thousands of acres of 
abandoned fields with evergreens. None of these measures have been 
entirely successful and none offer the final solution to the problem. 
Some varieties of fish have been planted which were not adapted to 
our streams and many have been planted in streams deficient in the 
kind of food needed. In the same way experimentation with foreign 
birds often resulted in failure and even our own grouse and quail 
found conditions too much changed from the original conditions to 
which they were adapted to permit successful colonization. The 
same is true of many forest plantations. Imported trees like Scotch 
pine have proved a disappointment and even the native white pine has 
suffered severely from the pine weevil when planted under unnatural 

Conservation of wild life as well as of forests will not be a suc- 
cess until conditions suitable for natural regeneration are obtained. 
Forest fires have in the past been one of the chief enemies of natural 
regeneration of both plant and animal life. AVidespread clear cutting 
also creates an artificial condition. 

The underlying principle of wild life management is that with 
the exception of migratory birds our game birds and animals spend 
their lives within a relatively small area and must have suitable food 
and shelter throughout the year if they are to thrive and multiply. 
Numerous small evergreen plantations furnish valuable shelter in 
winter, but since such plantations are lacking in berry bushes they 
must not be too extensive and should be broken up by openings and 
strips of berry bushes or should have a mixture of fruit and nut trees. 
Old apple trees and wild grape vines should be saved. While large 
clear cuttings are undesirable, small cuttings and small patches of old 
fields scattered through a well managed forest are necessary to give 
best results. Contrary to common opinion frequent thinnings in a 
hardwood forest tend to preserve good cover because the numerous 

A k M College 

StiU*a ter > 0kla ' 
Document Boom 


root sprouts from the cut trees persist several years even in dense 
stands. Good forestry practice does not countenance the cutting of 
underbrush except on small areas as preparation for forest planting. 

The economic returns from wild life except in case of small areas 
controlled by rich men's clubs are relatively small compared to those 
possible from forest products. The practice of forestry, therefore, 
offers the best guarantees that owners will be willing to continue to 
allow public hunting on their lands. 


Other forms of recreation besides hunting and fishing are inti- 
mately connected with forests. Hiking, picnicking and camping in 
summer and skiing and snowshoeing in winter are all enjoyed in the 
woods. In general the larger the trees the greater the enjoyment of 
people who visit the forests. 

Much is said about the beauty of Connecticut, but like the weather 
little is done about it. Well managed forests with a proper propor- 
tion of large trees add much to the beauty of the landscape and have 
a not inconsiderable financial value in attracting summer residents as 
well as permanent home seekers. Many places formerly beautiful 
were temporarily ruined by the loss of shade trees and woods through 
the hurricane. The health giving qualities of forests have long been 


In any state with the density of population of Connecticut the 
supply of potable water may well be a limiting factor in the growth 
of population. Connecticut was naturally rich in clear springs and 
streams. Some of the former have been destroyed by forest removal 
and many of the latter have been ruined by pollution. Forests are 
not only valuable in equalizing run-off, but have great value in pre- 
venting erosion and the silting up of streams and in other ways help 
in preserving a supply of pure water. 


It is evident that if Connecticut is to get the full benefit from its 
large forest area it must have a more definite forest policy. The fol- 
lowing suggestions are believed fundamental to such a policy. 

1. There must be adequate protection from fire, insects and disease. 
Under normal conditions all of these sources of damage are fairly 
well controlled but any abnormal combination of weather and 
other unknown factors may result in devastating fires or serious 
infestations by such insects as the Gipsy Moth. 

2. There must be safeguards against excessive taxation. It is be- 
lieved that present laws afford adequate protection to forest own- 
ers as related to owners of other forms of real estate but that the 
tax burden should be readjusted to lighten the load on all real 
estate. OKLAHOMA 



APR 15 1940 


3. The State should own at least three hundred thousand acres of 
state forests in consolidated tracts of not less than 3000 acres 
each. These tracts would serve as nucleii for the control of forest 
fires, for the building of wood using industries and for the spread 
of forestry knowledge among private owners. They would pro- 
duce a large amount of high grade lumber for industry. They 
would furnish labor for unemployed and eventually increase the 
State's revenue. They would supplement the state parks as rec- 
reational areas and would be managed either as game sanctuaries 
or public hunting grounds according to the needs of the State 
Board of Fisheries and Game. They would eventually yield a 
considerable revenue to the State. 

4. A system of town forests of smaller area is desirable to serve as 
local recreational centers, to furnish employment and wood to 
unemployed residents and eventually increase the revenue of the 

5. Some form of public control over forest devastation is necessary. 
The State regulates the size of fish caught and even prohibits fish- 
ing in certain streams. It limits the season for hunting and the 
bag that the sportsman can take. It limits the speed of automo- 
biles and prohibits unsightly dumps and public nuisances. It con- 
trols bathing in certain waters, prohibits stream pollution and ex- 
cludes people with certain diseases from some industries. Up to 
the present the owner of a forest may devastate it as though he 
were alone on an island and his forest had no relation to the wel- 
fare of the rest of the state. 

Thirty-five states, including Vermont and New York, have now 
passed laws authorizing the establishment of Conservation Dis- 
tricts with power to make and enforce laws governing the use of 
natural resources within their boundaries. This is an approach 
to the Swedish system of local control and would probably fit 
Connecticut traditions much better than either Federal or State- 
wide control. 

6. When some system of public control of private forests has been 
established, a systematic effort should be made to secure new 
wood using industries especially of the kind that will use such 
smaller and poorer grades of wood as would result .from thin- 

7. More systematic instruction of forest owners is necessary. 
Through numerous demonstrations of good practice on the state 
forests and in private forests, frequent group meetings and the 
personal contact of foresters, a better understanding of the for- 
estry problems should be brought about. One Extension For- 
ester is not sufficient. Through an adequate force of Forest 
Rangers working in close cooperation with the Extension For- 
ester much headway could be made in the application of the first 
principles of forestry which alone would more than double the 
productivity of our forests. 

University of